Texas Rangers’ Hamilton Shows Little Contrition in Press Conference
On Monday, Josh Hamilton fielded questions from the media at Globe Life Park. Given the contentious nature of Hamilton’s departure from the Texas Rangers to the Los Angeles Angels via free agency in 2012, most fans were curious about what Hamilton would and wouldn’t discuss during this media session.
Everyone was most interested in hearing what the 2010 American League MVP would say in regards to his 2013 comments about Dallas/Ft. Worth not being a real baseball town. These comments seemed to ignite a fury inside most Rangers’ fans, many of which had purchased a No. 32 Hamilton jersey, t-shirt, or other Hamilton souvenirs.
With a sheepish look on his face, Hamilton began his opening remarks by trying to defuse the “baseball town” comments. “First of all, let me just put to rest for questions coming up later, today’s about moving forward…” he said. Hamilton was already on the defensive and hoping to avoid the eminent questions about his controversial comments.
After thanking a number of people, including the Angels (for letting him return to a division rival) Hamilton addressed Rangers’ fans in an attempt to heal old wounds. “For me, it’s still the loudest ballpark I’ve ever played in.” he said. This was simply a transparent attempt to compliment the fans while not directly apologizing for his 2013 criticism of them.
To his credit, Hamilton then acknowledged that he had to address the baseball town remarks. “I’ve said some dumb things and I’ll continue to say dumb things at times.” Hamilton said with a grin on his face. But he never actually used the words sorry or apologize. Hamilton skirted around the issue by saying that he was “back home” and he asked for the fans to get behind the team.
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This was a mistake on Hamilton’s part. Fans are the most forgiving group of people in society so why not start with a blunt mea culpa and directly give the Rangers’ fans what they need to move on from the incident? Rather, Hamilton chose to sweet talk the fans and vowed to give the team everything he can (which he certainly did not do the last three months of the season in 2012).
Later, he was asked if he was trying to apologize to fans about the baseball town remarks when he addressed them in his opening statement and again, Hamilton dropped the ball. ‘Um…apologize, clarify um I mean, I’ve explained it many times what I actually meant and I’m not going to do it here…but you know, it’s um…yeah…apology. That would be good.”
Hamilton is a prideful man and it appears that his pride is keeping him from saying what he needs to say to win over the scorned Rangers’ fan. Whether he believes he was in the wrong or not (and it appears he does not feel he was out of line) a simple, straightforward apology in the first minute of the press conference would have bought Hamilton more grace than anything else he could do or say.
It is hard to remember a more anticipated press conference than Josh Hamilton’s. Unfortunately, as the press conference progressed, Hamilton grew ever more defensive to the point of chastising and sarcastically bantering with the reporters that asked him questions he didn’t want to answer.
Hamilton has a golden opportunity for a fresh start. He is back “home” with the Rangers where he says he should have been all along. Playing for an organization that is willing to do anything possible to ensure his mental well-being should make the slugger thankful and contrite.
Monday’s press conference was the first opportunity for Josh Hamilton to show that he has grown as a player and as a man. Doing so would have made his transition back into the hearts of Rangers’ fans easier. However, Hamilton appears to remain proud and unwilling to accept responsibility for his actions off the field, which makes one worry about what we will see on the field as well.
The full press conference can be seen in the video below.